Policy & Practice Briefs

The Policy & Practice Brief series forms part of ACCORD's knowledge production work to inform peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding. They aim to provide succinct, rigorous and accessible recommendations to policy makers and practitioners and to stimulate informed and relevant debate to promote dialogue as a way to peacefully resolve conflict. Each issue draws on field research or the outcomes of thematic events, with analysis underpinned by rigorous research, academic theory and methods. 

Strategies to prevent and manage electoral violence

Considerations for policy

Policy and Practice Brief 1

This Policy and Practice Brief offers insights for policymakers regarding strategies to prevent and manage electoral violence. It forms part of ACCORD’s research and interventions on elections and violence. Our work seeks to inform interventions by governments and civil society and assist to prevent and manage electoral violence.

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Executive Summary

Electoral violence is a sub-category of political violence, which deserves special consideration from the policy community. Indeed, electoral violence has received increasing international attention in recent years due to the devastating effects of outbreaks of violence in Kenya, Zimbabwe and Afghanistan around elections. The notion of violence-free elections is encapsulated in the term ‘free and fair’ elections, serving as a benchmark for determining the legitimacy of elections.Efforts by local and international actors include electoral assistance, peacekeeping and monitoring missions, civic and voter education. Yet, understanding of the consequences of specific strategies and how their returns can be maximised, remains limited.

The main conclusion of this policy brief points to a re-evaluation of conflict management and preventive strategies and highlights five recommendations:

  1. Victims need to be better taken into account and cared for;
  2. Monitoring and education are activities that need to be carried out on a long-term basis;
  3. Conflict-mitigation measures should be included in the electoral process design;
  4. To ensure security, a balance between deterrence and confidence building has to be found; and
  5. To improve peacebuilding around election times, the multiple actors involved need to coordinate activities to avoid overlap and to identify policy gaps.